MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Rodrigo Duterte had P17,816.98 in his Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Julia Vargas account on March 31, 2014, according to a document from BPI.
Duterte, in a Manila press conference on Wednesday, May 4, showed the “Bank Certification of Deposit” to media along with two other certifications, one of the account’s balance on April 29, 2016 and another showing the balance on December 31, 2014.
The balance of the account in those periods are as follows:
- March 31, 2014 – P17,816.98
- December 31, 2014 – 17,766.98
- April 29, 2016 – 74,734.30
March 31, 2014 is three days after Duterte’s birthday when large deposits were allegedly made to the account as claimed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Trillanes said 7 deposits amounting to P193.71 million were made to the account on March 28, 2014, Duterte’s 70th birthday. That year, claimed Trillanes, Duterte had P227 million which went undeclared in his 2015 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
But as the BPI certification shows, the account held only P17,816.98 three days after Duterte’s birthday.
Why did Duterte not ask for a balance certification for March 28, the day of the suspicious deposits?
“Ayaw nga mag-certify ng bangko kasi non-existent. Takutin mo lahat ng depositor ngayon. I cannot tell the bank to issue a certification na wala,” he said.
(The bank didn’t want to certify something non-existent. You will scare away depositors that way. I cannot tell the bank to issue a certification that is not there.)
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, said the March 31 certification was enough since March 28 was a Friday in 2014, and it would have been “unlikely” for such huge amounts to have been withdrawn over the weekend.
But could the amounts have been withdrawn on March 28 itself, if Trillanes’ allegations are true?
Duterte had brought 11 BPI passbooks to the press conference but when media asked to have a look at them, his staff refused.
The Davao City mayor also showed 3 certifications of the balance of his BPI dollar account.
The certifications covered the periods December 31, 2013 to March 31, 2014; April 1 to 30, 2016; and March 31, 2014. All of them showed the account had a balance of just over $5,000 during those periods, as Duterte had claimed.
‘AMLC, Central Bank, get ready’
If such large deposits were indeed made to his account in the past years, why did the Anti-Money Laundering Council or Central Bank not raise alarm? asked Duterte.
“Central Bank and the AMLC, kung sinabi ni Trillanes na P2.4 billion, sabi niya matagal na, then why the hell, wala akong nalaman o pinaalam ako ng AMLC na inimbestigahan?” he said.
(Central Bank and the AMLC, if Trillanes said there was P2.4 billion years ago, then why they hell didn’t I know about it or why did AMLC not tell me I was under investigation?)
Under the Anti-Money Laundering law, deposits involving more than P4 million should have been reported to AMLC within 5 to 10 working days after the transaction was made.
But the law also states that AMLC and the involved bank are prohibited from communicating to any person that a report was made.
“Sabi niya drug money pati raw smuggling. That is a very explosive thing. Walang nagtatanong,” he added.
(He said drug money, even smuggling. That is a very explosive thing. No one was questioning me.)
So if the transactions were true, the two financial institutions could be held liable for “criminal negligence,” said Duterte, also a lawyer.
“I will now accuse the Central Bank and AMLC of criminal negligence,” said Duterte.
Unless the Ombudsman, AMLC, or Central Bank back up Trillanes’ claims with an investigation, Duterte is considering charging them.
“If [the money is] there, start the investigation, I challenge you. If not, I will charge you with criminal negligence…Kung manalo ako, you are in hot water (If I win, you are in hot water.)
Trillanes, asked by Rappler if he was satisfied with the March 31, 2014 certification, said, “No, definitely not. We are asking for the transaction history.”
He criticized Duterte for chickening out last May 2 when he had gone to BPI Julia Vargas to see the opening of the controversial account. “I showed up last Monday. I was ready to resign [as senator] on the spot but he chickened out.”
But Duterte had said the previous week that he had asked lawyer Salvador Panelo to represent him since he was scheduled to attend a sortie in Zamboanga.
Though Panelo had requested for documents that day, BPI had asked for 7 days to study the legal implications of the request. – Rappler.com